Cavs +6.5, first half
The gap between the Warriors and Cavs isn’t as big as most people think it is. Lebron has a lot of good mismatches he can force out of pick + rolls – Looney, Curry, Livingston, Bell, McGaw, West – they all will consistently lose to Lebron when they are isolated vs him. Lebron likely won’t have 51 again but having 40 and getting one of his role players more involved is realistic. Iguodala out is a big deal because he’s the Warriors best defender on Lebron. Durant struggled vs Lebron. Now the Warriors have 2 guys in the starting lineup that are liabilities on defense vs Lebron (Steph + Looney) and the entire bench falls under the same category. McGee will probably get more minutes tonight.
In terms of the Cavs’ mentality after the meltdown in Game 1, the Cavs weren’t expected to be in that position anyway so them having a chance to win was a bonus. Lebron shouldn’t feel any pressure and he should relay that message to JR and Hill – the Cavs were predicted to get blown away in this series and taking the Dubs to overtime is at least a positive. Love played well in Game 1. Thompson and Nance dominated the glass. Green played decent off the bench. Lebron will likely try to get JR involved early. If either Korver or JR can hit a few threes in the first half, the Cavs can hang.
Warriors have had a lead at halftime in just one of their last 8 games. They’ve trailed 4x and were tied 3x. Klay was limping yesterday but I’m betting this anticipating he’s 100% because he shot 5-10 from 3 and had 24 points even when he was hurt in Game 1. The Cavs overcame a Warriors 3rd quarter run and Klay & Steph combining for 10-21 from three. I’ll back Lebron.
Cavs +6.5 1st half, 1.5 units
(1 to 5 unit scale)